Researching World Cinemas

Module code: HA2030 

Module co-ordinator: Professor James Chapman

Module Overview

This core module challenges the orthodox view of film history which implicitly assumes that American and Western European cinemas are the main (and sometimes only) sites where valuable cinema exists. Non-western traditions of film-making are too often marginalised in film studies degrees which do not, therefore, recognise the full artistic and cultural diversity of the medium. To this extent, the module considers films from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America. The module is historically based and the emphasis throughout is on understanding films in relation to the cultural and industrial circumstances in which they were produced and consumed. We focus on five themes with two films chosen to represent each:

  1. Cinema and nation
  2. Form and aesthetics
  3. Politics and film
  4. New waves, new cinemas
  5. Popular genres, popular pleasures

Through studying the module you will gain a fuller understanding of different modes of film practice from the political radicalism of so-called ‘Third Cinema’ to the exotic pleasure of ‘Bollywood’. We will look at films by major directors including Andrjez Wajda, Yasujiro Ozu, Chen Kaige, Gillo Pontecorvo and Ousmane Sembene.

Amongst the films included are:

  • Ashes to Diamonds
  • Mother of India
  • The End of Summer
  • Farewell My Concubine
  • The Battle of Algiers
  • Memories of the Underdevelopment
  • A Touch of Zen

Assessment Method

  • Two hour examination at the end of the semester (50%)
  • 2,000-2,500 word essay (50%)